Hundreds of sword dancers to show off their talent in contest in Sheffield this weekend

Sheffield Steel Rappers.
Sheffield Steel Rappers.
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Sword dancers from across the world will travel to the city to compete in the biggest folk dancing contest.

The city will play host to the Dancing England Rapper Tournament (DERT) 2018 this weekend.

The biggest folk dance competition of its kind, the annual event sees ‘rapper’ dance teams from across the UK and overseas perform routines in the hope of being crowned the best.

This year 28 teams will be competing in Sheffield, including several from America and Europe, meaning over 400 sword dancers and musicians will be taking part.

Rapper dancing is a traditional folk dance hailing from the North East of England. It is known to be a fast and furious style of dancing which involves five people dancing with flexible swords known as ‘rappers’.

The dance is usually performed in compact, spaces such as pubs, and includes intricate, inter-woven figures, high-speed spins, forward and backward somersaults, fast percussive stepping and interlocked swords known as ‘locks’.

Laura English-Rose, part of the DERT 2018 organising committee, said: “Rapper is an exciting, vibrant form of folk dance which is seeing growing numbers taking part every year.

“Sheffield is the city of morris and folk dance, so we know that audiences here are going be really enthusiastic about the performances, which always makes for a great atmosphere.”

DERT 2018 will see teams perform at five Sheffield pubs, as well as Sheffield Cathedral, on Saturday March 24.

At each venue expert judges will award points to teams based on a number of criteria, including sword handling, stepping, kit and music.

In the evening, a sold-out showcase and prize-giving at the Cathedral will see the champions crowned in front of over 600 rapper fans.

The event is being organised by Sheffield Steel Rapper, one of Sheffield’s two rapper teams, who have been performing in the city and across the country since 2012

The competition starts at 11am and finishes at 4.30pm. Dancing will take place at: The Church House, The Dove & Rainbow, Shakespeare’s, The Hillsborough Hotel, The Ship Inn and Sheffield Cathedral.

For more information visit www.dert2018.com or follow @dert2018 on Twitter.